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Mature Your IGA Solution with a Role-Based Framework

By Jerry Aubel, Sr. Product Marketing Manager

If timing is everything, now may be the right time to begin your Role-Based Access Control journey. In my previous blog, I discussed access certifications and compliance functionality available in IdentityNow. Today, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of role management to help you determine if now is the right time to implement an effective role-based program.  

In a role-based access control (RBAC) framework, all access and entitlements are linked to specific roles within the enterprise. Role management is critical in addressing governance and compliance requirements for user access to mission-critical applications, data, and IT resources. Roles support compliance by aligning access privileges to user job functions within the organization while providing business context to lower-level entitlements and permissions, which need to be reviewed by business managers and compliance staff.  

That covers who has access to what. But when is an equally important factor.   

Here’s why: getting all stakeholders involved early in a role-access project enables a diverse team of business and IT personnel to fully participate in all aspects of the role development, management, and deployment process to maintain an effective role-based access management system for the organization.   

Why is this important? Decentralization of role management enables the business to delegate role management responsibilities to the individuals in your organization who best understand the business needs of their direct reports and, by extension, their resource access requirements. It charges the leaders with the greatest insights into a given role to determine what’s needed (and what isn’t) to be successful.  

Role management functionality can help establish the principle of least privilege and adopt a zero-trust mindset. This can reduce the risk of a breach and the damage a potential attacker could do by providing only the minimal level of access a user requires to perform their job — nothing more, nothing less. A role-based model can also reduce complexity and simplify the onboarding process by assigning birthright access and entitlements by function, role, or role set and enable new hires to be productive on day one with appropriate access based on their role.  

Role Engineering and Role Mining  

Role mining is discovering relationships between entitlements and a user’s job role. Role engineering tools within a role management framework enable you to define or derive roles based on existing user attributes, entitlement attributes, or user-entitlement association criteria.  

A role-based access model lets you engineer roles using several approaches: there’s bottom-up, where roles are established from common user entitlement associations for a group of users. There’s also top-down, where roles are derived from user entitlement associations related to a business function or organization. Managers can define the roles they want for the tasks or organizations under their control. Finally, there’s a hybrid, where roles are derived using a combination of both approaches.  

Artificial Intelligence and Access Modeling  

Automation can help reduce the complexity and scale of access within an enterprise. Using AI, you can enable your identity program to keep up with the dynamic nature of changing access and identities. This includes maintaining fewer, higher-quality roles and streamlining role maintenance while helping you maintain a more robust security posture that reduces identity risk.   

SailPoint’s Access Modeling solution uses artificial intelligence to automate the discovery, management, and control of all user access. This allows organizations to not only make better and faster access decisions but also to spot potential threats.  

With Access Modeling, you can:   

-Model access based on the needs of the business  

-Identify and suggest roles based on common access between users  

-Eliminate manual processes to save time and resources  

SailPoint’s AI-driven Identity provides data visibility and insights to help organizations proactively engage business users and security professionals to deliver a robust identity-based security framework.  

There’s much more to this topic and additional capabilities available when you leverage an AI-based approach to a role-based access framework.   

To learn more, visit